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I listened to more new stuff in 2021 than I generally do, mostly due to all the energy and constant new music being shared by the Metal Fi crew. Still not a lot compared to some of y'all, maybe two dozen albums. I did my best this year to just listen when I was in the mood and not force it. Wasn't always successful. It seems like, as soon as I start listening for the purpose of "keeping up with new releases", a little switch flips in my head and I get hypercritical and start detesting everything. That's no way to live. More power to those of you who can find joy in dozens or hundreds of albums a year, I'm impressed.

Three in particular really captured me:

Ad Nauseam: Imperative Imperceptible Impulse - have we reached Peak Disso? This is brilliant, inspired, cerebral, painstakingly assembled. So many intricate rhythmic variations, so much creative interplay between the guitars. The amount of energy and attention to detail makes it compelling for me every time I put it on. Constant companion for walks in the woods earlier this year.

Kayo Dot: Moss Grew On The Swords And Plowshares Alike - another inspired album with great musicianship. Heavy but uplifting, full of gorgeous free-flowing melodies in a constantly shifting landscape. The songs meander but they always find a home. The pacing lends itself to a lot of things I do throughout the day, so it's been easy for this one to work its way into my life. 

Voices: Breaking The Trauma Bond - somehow I already feel like I've been listening to this album for years. I always liked their sound; I feel like this is the most developed and coherent thing they've done so far. Loads of great little hooks throughout the hour-plus runtime keep me looking forward to what's coming next. Love the vocals. I kind of tuned out the lyrics at first, felt like they were overdramatic and cheesy, and was totally unprepared when a few of them hit me right between the eyes after three or four listens; there's some real emotional content here. Maybe it just came at the right time in this weird, difficult year.


Other albums I really enjoyed and wound up going back to pretty frequently:

Worm: Foreverglade

Circle Of Ouroborus: Kiromantia

Plebeian Grandstand: Rien Ne Suffit

Nur Run: Among Those Waves

At The Gates: The Nightmare Of Being

Henbane Chariot: Allpine Séance

Forhist: s/t


Some others I thought were pretty cool, even though I haven't wound up listening to them as much as I would have expected:

Grave Miasma: Abyss Of Wrathful Deities

Hooded Menace: The Tritonus Bell

Dormant Ordeal: The Grand Scheme Of Things

The Temple: s/t

Suffering Hour: The Cyclic Reckoning

Intonate: Severed Within


And finally, late entries from Ustalost (Before The Glinting Spell Unvests) and Creature (Eloge De l'Ombre) are getting some good airtime lately.



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Happy New Year to all and once again nice job on the lists: Fink, Zack, Macca, Johnny-5, Marky Mark, Navy, Doc, Kuke, and of course Our Father who art in Boston. If I've missed anyone I apologize. Thanks for taking the time y'all.

And thanks to the powers that be for being so cool about accepting us M-Fi'ers here en masses and allowing us to assimilate into your little group. It came as quite the shock last spring when word came down from Alex one day that our time left to post on the M-Fi forum was running out. At the time I thought there was a good chance I'd probably end up losing touch with most of my metal forum friends of 5 years which would have fucking sucked, and I'm quite glad that was not the case. I think the transition to shift our party over here has gone much better and smoother than I ever would have expected. We managed to get almost all of the regulars to come over and after 8 months I feel like our little community might've gotten even better now that we've joined forces with y'all. And the best part is you guys actually get some new members joining up from time to time, some of whom will even post and stick around. Thanks for having us guys, and I hope the feelings are mutual. 

Reading all these lists has caused me to rethink my strategy. As some of you are no doubt already aware I have a real problem with editing myself. I love lists, I will gladly take any excuse to make a list. Whenever I sit down to make one I look over what I have to choose from and then I'll set a goal for myself of a reasonable number that I want to stick to. I start listing albums until I'm well over the limit and then proceed to agonize endlessly over the three or five or seven or more albums that will inevitably need to be omitted. Doesn't matter what number I pick, if I tell myself 10 I'll end up with 15 or 20. If I choose 20 I'll end up with 30. 25 I'll do 40. If I tell myself absolutely no more than 40 I'll wind up with at least 50. Not sure why I do this, but I always have. Guess I just really hate to leave off anything that I think is worthy and I enjoy a lot.

So this year I think I'm still gonna make my longer more comprehensive separate sub-genre lists to save for my own personal future reference like I always do, but maybe this year I can finally force myself to work up a shorter more concise and readable list to share with 'the public' that won't be so long that it makes people's eyes glaze over and make them just want to skip to the next post.

Because as I read over all of these lists I'm seeing that with the exception of Marko, Navy, Zack, and possibly Hungarino, the majority of the knuckle-dragging meat & potatoes low-brow filth and caustic hateful norsecore that will be populating my list will be of little interest to anyone else here that might be reading it anyway. And that's OK.

So that'll be my job for tonight, or probably for the next several nights, to take my black metal top 40+, and my death metal top 30+ and extract shorter shareable lists that are fit for mass consumption. Maybe I'll do like top 20 black / top 20 death and I'll keep the rest on my private master list just for myself. 

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Shut the fuck up mate, you know you won't be any more interested in anything on my list than I was interested in anything on yours 🤣 I hadn't heard anything from Flotsie since Doomsday I don't think, but I tried out their new album last night after seeing your write up and I made it about 3 minutes before I had to click it off. Those vocals 🤢

I took my Kiwi wife to see Overkill, Testament, F&J back in Jan or Feb 2013, Overkill had to drop out at the last minute by doctor's orders, something about Bobby's vocal chords, but at least they got up onstage and apologized to their fans. I was annoyed because I was really only there to see Overkill, but there were no refunds being given so we stayed and watched the other 2 bands play (along with a few songs by some opening clowns called 4-Arm) Testament was filming the show for a dvd so they played an extra long set and they won me over by the end, I enjoyed it. I had liked them well enough back in the day, but I really haven't been interested in anything they've been up to since before the turn of the century.  She on the other hand really liked F&J, they made such an impression she even bought their T-shirt and she dubbed them "Flotsie" so Flotsie they shall forever be for me now. She had dubbed Savatage "Savvie" as well but fortunately they don't come up in conversation too often these days. 

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:( Awe, now that's a bit harsh!

It's true, no one else here matters, but with both popcorn and coffee I could at least feign interest in something you put effort into producing. I may not be able to put my thoughts into coherent sentences to show you how much I appreciate the entertainment but it would go without saying anyway.

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Nice set of death releases @GoatmasterGeneral- agree there have been lots of great death releases. There are actually only a few of your list that I dont own. I will check them out. Then there are still releaes that I enjoyed like Benothing, Cadaveric Fumes, Veilburner, Monument of Misanthropy, Qrixkuor ah and name it. Just too little time to listen all. Newest Sijjin is receiving a ton of praise around too, stil waiting to arrive the cd after listening 1 song.

You commented that just a few may be interested in your black metal list, as you may remember I have joined the black metal bandwagon relatively late and just wanted to tell you that I have picked up more than several albums and bands from your recommendations in the past. Even though you may not see a lot reflected in my list. So please continue to do and make me wise in the land of dark and icy forests! It's appreciated.

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17 hours ago, ratpfink said:

Zornheym - The Zornheim Sleep Experiment

Frummyrkrið is weird. Advertised as icelandic bm, but seems to have been erased from the internets to some extent. The record is gone from my bandcamp collection. Good thing I downloaded? I read an italian blog that says they might actually be a brazilian band. So bonus points for the mystery/fuckery.

Yes! Zornheym are so ridiculously entertaining and catchy. Great stuff. Graveless Souls recently put out a pre-order for cassette. The vinyl is delayed I think.

Frummyrkrið might be the case that they got snatched up by a label that don't want the album online until it's released again? That happened with Zeal & Ardor's first EP "Devil is fine".


15 hours ago, zackflag said:

7. Stormkeep - Tales of Othertime (Epic, melodic Black metal)

I can't believe you're the first one I see mentioning Stormkeep! The rest of you are obviously fucking missing out!


2 hours ago, GoatmasterGeneral said:

Re: my exchange with Navy the other night... after spending the better part of 2 days listening to almost nothing but my 2021 death metal albums, I can honestly say without fear of contradiction that this has most definitely not been a weak year for death metal at all imho.

You my friend should check out the YT channel Melanie Loves Death Metal. She's an awesome, passionate metal fan who really helps me stay attuned to what's happening in the DM world.

MelanieLovesDeathMetal - Top 20 death metal albums of 2021


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3 hours ago, JohanV said:

 Newest Sijjin is receiving a ton of praise around too, stil waiting to arrive the cd after listening 1 song.

That Sijjin is pretty good. I got onto it a bit late otherwise is could have cracked my top 20.

3 hours ago, Sheol said:

I can't believe you're the first one I see mentioning Stormkeep! The rest of you are obviously fucking missing out!

I haven't really spent a lot of time with this one, but I like what I hear.

And @GoatmasterGeneral, strong work as usual. Homework has been assigned. I own a few of those (9, 13, 15, & 19), but haven't even heard of most. I forgot about that Huoripukki. Quite enjoyed that album. 

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5 hours ago, MacabreEternal said:

FatherA to try and come up with ways to create interest in the site

I have a way to create more interest in the site. Ban all talk about black metal, no one really likes it anyway :)


1 hour ago, FatherAlabaster said:

I think I get less out of lists than most people.

I find the reaction to lists slightly amusing. On some forums about all they produce is lists and not following suit is considered strange. Whereas on other forums they almost don't exist and may even be questioned. I honestly don't know why I produce a list every year, it's certainly not to compete with others as my lists rarely looks the same as anyone elses. But it is interesting reading other peoples lists, even black metal lists!!!

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19 minutes ago, KillaKukumba said:

I have a way to create more interest in the site. Ban all talk about black metal, no one really likes it anyway :)


I find the reaction to lists slightly amusing. On some forums about all they produce is lists and not following suit is considered strange. Whereas on other forums they almost don't exist and may even be questioned. I honestly don't know why I produce a list every year, it's certainly not to compete with others as my lists rarely looks the same as anyone elses. But it is interesting reading other peoples lists, even black metal lists!!!

I gotta agree!  I've never really understood the appeal of black metal.  Other folks love it, and that's great.  I just don't see the infatuation with it.  Cradle of Filth is one of my favorite bands of all time, and they're about as close as I come to black metal.  Most people don't consider them true black metal anyway, though. 

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8 minutes ago, KillaKukumba said:

I don't really want to ban black metal talk, I was just having a little dig at GMG because he made me cry in my popcorn yesterday. Truth be known he and I actually have a few bands that we both listen to, but I'm not going to name them and admit that I listen to black metal.

Haha I see.  Fair enough!

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I am going to start posting this unholy abomination of a list, starting with a few Splits that I enjoyed. Not as many Splits this year, I probably missed a bunch of really good ones I reckon.

Opferblut / Misotheismus (raw black - Sweden/Equator)

Kūka'ilimoku // Sandworm (raw black – Hawaii and Rhode Island)

WHARFLURCH / WRITHING SHADOWS - Beneath The Blackened Clouds of War (Bestial black death – USA)

Blue Holocaust / Houkago Grind Time - Do You Love Anime? Pt. 7 / Nilbog Attack (grind - France/ USA)

Reign / Gate Master (black - UK)

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Tier 1:

Gzekhratüs  - Enter the Morbid Obscurity (Black Death - Spain)

Eranthos - Eternal Decay (Black – Germany)

Goat Tyrant – Towards the Threshold of Death (Blackened Thrash Death – Poland)

ERUPTED EVIL – Teufel (blackened death – Poland)

Primordial Serpent - Hail the Serpent (Black – Canada)

Argento - First Comes Madness... Then Comes Death! (DM – Argentina) 

VATICINAL RITES - Self-Titled EP (death thrash – UK)

Abhorration - After Winter Comes War (Blackened DM – Norway)

HELL'S CORONATION - Silver Knife Mysticism (black doom – Poland)

Tier 2:

SexMag - Sex Metal (goat death thrash – Poland)

ANHARAT – Blood Sorcery (Heavy AF DM – USA)

Enfleshment – Cellar Death (DM – USA)

IFRINN - Caledonian Black Magick (Black – UK)


Benothing - Temporal Bliss Surrealms (OSDM – Finland)

Tempter’s Sacrament - Temptation Steel Scourge (black crust – USA)

Perilaxe Occlusion - Raytraces of Death (Modern DM – Canada)

ReDimoni - On The Brink Of Existence (Death thrash – Spain)

Havukruunu - Kuu Erkylän Yllä (black – Finland)

ANOTHERSIDE - Odors of Sepulchral (black death – Russia)

Satanism - Whore of Death, Black Invocation of the Infernal Spirit (Black death goat – USA)

Tier 3:

Můra - Doom Invocations and Narcotic Rituals (Death/Doom - Czech Rep)

NIGROMANCIA – Hidden Rituals (death thrash – Chile)

Order of Omega - - 333 – (Blackened Death – UNKN)

PHENOCRYST – Explosions (DM – Portugal)

Ossuaire – Triumvirat (black – Canada)

Vomit Forth – Demo  (Brutilish DM – USA)

Nekrovomit – Demonic Possession (black thrash goat - Indonesia)

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CRUCIFIED MORTALS - 20 Years Damned (compilation) (Death thrash – USA)

Tier 3:

Гробъ - Смирение (Humility) (black death – Bulgaria)

Hell-Born - Natas Liah (Blackened DM - Poland)

Excruciation by Silence - Metal Madness (Thrash – Russia)

Obsolete - Animate//Isolate (Tech Thrash Death – USA)


Morbid Breath - In the Hand of the Reaper (Thrash – Sweden)

CAMBION - Conflagrate the Celestial Refugium (blackened Death Thrash – USA/Germany)

FRIGHTFUL - Spectral Creator (death thrash – Poland)

Evil Damn – Necronomicon (DM – Peru)

Goat Torment – Forked Tongues (Black – Belgium)

Malison - Death's Embrace (Shred porn – USA)

Estertor - Tales From The Ancient Grave (Thrash – Spain)

Tardus Mortem – Armageddon (Avant black death – Denmark)

Funeral Chant - Dawn of Annihilation (black death – USA)  Makes it on vibe as much as the tunes. Great effort, needs more craftmanship imo.

ILLUM ADORA - Ophidian Kult (black – Germany)

VRAJ - Sojourn of the Soul (USBM – USA)  Promising debut.

Tier 2:

Nekromantheon  - Visions of Trismegistos (Death/Thrash – Norway)  Every release from these guys meets the highest standards of ripping death thrash and this is no exception. May not reinvent anything but slays your face from start to finish. An unholy banger that is a hazard to your neck vertebrae.

Gravesend - Methods of Human Disposal (Grind – USA) A lot of love for this one and well deserved. This one goes for the jugular no bs.

Cadaveric Fumes – Echoing Chambers of the Soul (DM – France) There were times when I thought this was going to be the best album of the year, but it has slipped just a little. Superlative and thoughtful DM. Bummer they split up!

MORTIFERUM - Preserved In Torment (Death Doom – USA) Uber heavy, grim and crushing. Nuance is there if you can stomach the downward spiral.

Disembody - Reigniting Hellfire (Black/Thrash – Finland)  One of my most frequent plays. Too much goodness here.

Gravecarver - Spectral Carnage (DM – USA) Meat n’ Potatoes DM is still a thing because sometimes that’s all you really want or need. This one hits the mark for me.

DRAWN AND QUARTERED - Congregation Pestilence (DM – USA) I was a sceptic of D+Q at first but they won me over. This is just too good to be denied a spot. A band on the rise.

GNOSIS - Omens from the Dead Realm (DM – USA) Spooky, dark and evil but does not neglect the riffs, which are epic.

Morbid Cruelty – Holodomor (Death Thrash – Chile) Thrashing black mayhem with no let up.

HAALBUAER - Mortal Ones Scream in Horror (OSDM – Norway) Just love this disgusting vibe and groove. Sounds new again.

Pandemic Outbreak – Skulls Beneath the Cross (Death thrash – Poland) Killer death thrash and that’s all I need most days.

Mortal Vision - Mind Manipulation (thrash – Ukraine) Nothing new or ground breaking, just riffs played fast and hard.

SAVAGE DEITY - DECADE OF SAVAGERY (OSDM – Thailand) Love the guitar tone, tempo and the gnarly vocals.

Dungeon Serpent – World of Sorrows (DM – Canada) This Canadian has a grim but promising future!

AUTOKRATOR – Persecution (Death black Industrial – France) Punishment for your nasty soul!

Destructo - Demonic Possession (black thrash – Netherlands) Lots of black thrash talent making an infernal racket.

Steel Bearing Hand – Slay in Hell (Death thrash – USA) Another pleasant surprise from a band I had not really paid much attention to.

TANATOR – Disapotheosis (Black thrash – Russia) Excellent but just a smidge below Desaster and Nekromantheon and Rapture.

Archgoat - Worship The Eternal Darkness (goat metal – Finland) Aptly named. The first name in Goat Metal.

Taekaury – S/T (raw black – S. Korea) This is excellent raw black metal and it is amazing that this exists.

Wound – Serpent Crown (Melodic DM – Germany) Bring the riffs in all shapes and sizes.

Eternal Evil - The Warriors Awakening Brings the Unholy Slaughter (black thrash – Sweden)

Tier 1:

Apostasy – Death Return (Blackened Thrash – Chile) ***** These guys have been a revelation. What a remarkably unheralded band going back to 1988. What you have in this album is masterful slightly-blackened thrash crafted by skilled veterans. This is not revival thrash, this is the genuine article played by long time vets, take heed and hail!

SPECTRAL WOUND - A Diabolic Thirst (Black – Canada) When it comes to black metal I am not going to over think this one. It is the total package of kvlt raw savagery with musicianship and song craft. Frigid and spellbound indeed.

Rapture - Malevolent Demise Incarnation (Death Thrash – Greece) ***** More death thrash that is like drinking from a blender of razor blades and malt liquor and incites metal thrashing madness.

QRIXKUOR - Poison Palinopsia (Avant/DM – UK) ***** I just want Thatguy to think I am worthy with this one because it might just be weird enough for him. This is immersive, challenging, dark, heavy af and brilliant. I am so glad this exists and it is truly superlative avant garde black death abyss worship.

Desaster - Churches Without Saints (black thrash – Germany) I thought these guys had fallen off. I was wrong. This is a monster of an album that combines the mania of balls out black thrash with skilled production and well thought-out song craft.

Venefixion - A Sigh From Below (DM – France)  Another killer blackened thrash release that manages to carve out a unique sound and add lots of evil satanic menace along with the non-stop riffage. This is pretty much my sweet spot, in case anyone didn’t notice.

Black Mass - Feast at the Forbidden Tree (blackened speed thrash – USA) If someone said hey play some heavy metal and you put this on I think it would satisfy 90% of metal fans and the other 10% need to lighten up and have some fun.

CRYPTS OF DESPAIR - All Light Swallowed (DM - Lithuania) An early favorite. Heavy dark suffocating and evil. A crusher for sure.

Abkehr - In Blut (Black – Germany) If you enjoy having your soul ripped out through your nostrils this is kind of like that maybe. Bleak and savage but achingly beautiful black metal.

Eternity's End - Embers of War (power/shred porn – Germany) I don’t care what you usually head bang to but if you can’t rock out to this you might be doing metal wrong.

Pakkt - To Brocken Heights Where Witches Dance (black – Germany) Debut from an unknown band that absolutely kills. Mixes punk, groove and doom and death into a filthy black metal cauldron.

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